Curtains came down on the 2018 Kenya National Rally Championship season in Stoni Athi with five-time Safari winner Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo registering his sixth win of the season in the 39th edition of Multiple Hauliers-sponsored Guru Nanak Rally.
Having already won Eldoret, RSC, Nanyuki, KMSC and Safari rounds, Tundo and his partner Tim Jessop savoured their second career back-to-back Guru Nanak Rally success as the Sikh Union round marked its 39th edition in Machakos County. It was, however, their fifth win in the Simba Union Club event since they made their rally debut in 1995 in Subaru Impreza Hatchback.
Tundo and Jessop’s partnership is one of the longest in the Kenya National Rally Championship series. The pair has tackled about 136 events together, having won five KNRC titles, four Safari rallies and five Guru Nanak rallies among their records. Tundo and his partner Jessop also claimed a KNRC double after clinching the overall KNRC titles and the B13 Class, which Kenya Motor Sports Federation is scrapping effective 2019.
Onkar Rai, winner of the season opening round in Nakuru earlier in the year, finished second overall in the season-ender and third on the KNRC log. He is also the defending Hill Climb Champion. Reigning African Rally Champion Manvir Singh Baryan who was the earlier pacesetter after clearing the ground with all his race adversaries on the first two stages completed the podium dash in a Skoda R5.
Legendary Ian Duncan won the SPV Class in fourth overall position while the 2015 ARC and KNRC champion Jassi Chatthe, settled for fifth in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.
Tundo, who sealed the KNRC title on the penultimate Eldoret leg last month, celebrated his most successful season which saw him equal the long standing Shekhar Mehta’s record of five Safari wins, over and above, the six 2018 wins he chalked up this season. It was a bitter pill to swallow for Baldev Chager and Eric Bengi, who kissed the Guru Nanak Rally goodbye following excruciating car gremlins. Although Bengi lost third place (in the final standings) to Onkar Rai, he completed a rare championship double when he added the KNRC Group ‘N’ title to his trophy cabinet. Bengi sealed the KNRC Division 1 during last month’s Eldoret leg but had his Group ‘N’ campaign effectively sewn up when his closest challenger Fazzy Khan decided to give Guru Nanak Rally a wide berth.
Chager, who has been the fastest driver in 2018 alongside team-mate Tundo, settled for second position on the KNRC log, which he secured in Eldoret. He also wrapped up the B13 Class in second spot, behind Tundo.
Sarit Shah and Kigo Kareithi beat Daren Miranda and Wayne Fernandez to the KNRC 2WD title. Daren won the Guru Nanak 2WD title but Sarit’s second in the class earned him the coveted title. For Sarit it was his maiden F2 title while Kigo, who previously navigated Leonardo Varese, had it for the umpteenth time.
The two wheel tussle was a two-horse race, pitting Sarit against Daren.
Miranda said: “I didn’t do Eldoret because it coincided with my brothers wedding and I didn’t score points in Nakuru because I drove the Group ‘S’ car. I wasn’t intending to do 2WD this year, but after selling the N10 after Nakuru, I went back to my old 2WD car.”
Sarit drove the ex-Varese Corolla RSI which was previously driven by David Horsy while Miranda drove the Sprinter GT previously driven by Alex Lairangi and Dennis Mwenda. Out of 27 starters only 19 survived the demanding course.